Healthy Tips to Help Ward Off Addictive Behaviors
Guest Post by Tim Stoddart
In a world where overdose is the leading cause of death of people under 50, we all need to be cautious.
The truth is that some people are more susceptible to addiction than others. We need to see more research done on the topic, but we do know that there are genetic, demographic and socioeconomic factors at play.
Here’s the thing: If you can take an objective look at your behavior, you probably know whether you’re prone to addiction or not.
Do you tend to eat way too much of a good thing? Does someone have to pry you away from the slot machines when you're at a casino? Have you ever been a smoker?
If you have recognized that you have trouble with willpower and self-control, it’s best to steer clear of addictive substances and behaviors.
But we must remember that addiction is a seductive and dangerous disease. Even if you aren’t prone to addictive behaviors, you can still become addicted.
It’s wise for everyone to take measures to avoid addiction. Here are some healthy tips to help ward off addictive behaviors.
1. Avoid or limit addictive substances. This one seems obvious, but it’s worth stating. Some things are more addictive than others. For example, alcohol may be more addictive that technology, but you can become addicted to either. Use these things with caution or do not use them at all. Unhealthy behaviors can lead to addiction.
2. Replace an unhealthy behavior with a healthy one. Let’s say you’re in the habit of having a glass or two of wine each night. You’re already putting yourself in the danger zone. If you want to avoid addiction, replace that glass of wine with your favorite tea or a green smoothie. These things will enhance instead of detract from your health.
3. Learn about addiction. Too many people fall victim to addiction because of things they didn’t know. Maybe they didn’t realize how dangerous prescription painkillers can be. Or maybe they didn’t understand that addiction can happen to anyone. Read books, research online and talk to people who have walked this path. The more you know, the more likely you are to avoid addiction.
4. Hang out with healthy people. The friends you keep do have an influence on your behavior. If your friends abuse addictive substances, you are more likely to do so. Fortunately, this works in reverse too. If your friends live healthy lifestyles, you’re more likely to do the same. This just makes good sense. If you spend all your time with people who are always drinking, you will probably join them.
5. Eat a healthy diet. Macro and micronutrient deficiencies can lead to depression and anxiety, which can lead to drug or alcohol abuse. American biochemist Dr. Roger Williams discovered that rats who were deficient in certain vitamins would consume more alcohol than those who weren’t deficient. When researchers addressed the rat’s vitamin deficiencies, they would drink less alcohol. For the best chance of avoiding addiction, eat a varied, healthy diet filled with lots of fruits and vegetables.[G1] [G2]
6. Record addictive behaviors. When you start sliding down the slippery slope of addiction, you will likely be embarrassed to reveal your habits to anyone. For example, if you’re having five alcoholic drinks a day, you might downplay your drinking to loved ones and say you’ve only had one or two. By keeping a written record of your addictive behaviors, you are holding yourself accountable for your own actions. You don’t necessarily have to share your record with anyone. The act of recording your habits should be enough to help you face any issues you may see.
7. Adopt healthy habits. The more time you spend doing productive things, the less time you’ll have for addictive behaviors – and that’s a good thing. Become obsessed with something that’s good for your health and your body will thank you.
8. Avoid your “weaknesses” – Everyone has a weakness, even Superman himself. Is yours chocolate? Maybe it’s a certain type of adult beverage. Whatever it is, steer clear. It’s bad news to let yourself indulge in anything if you know you’re likely to overdo it. If you don’t want to avoid these things completely, you can use those moments as a time to practice self-control. If you let yourself overindulge sometimes, it’s much easier to do it again.
9. Hold yourself accountable to another person. This tip is good for anyone who tends to drink a little too much at social events. Before you go, tell someone who will be there that you don’t want to have more than two drinks. Ask them to hold you accountable to this limit. Of course, there’s only so much you can expect from another person. They aren’t likely to keep you from drinking if you make it difficult on them, but the reminder should be enough to keep you on track. This tip can also work for other things, like smoking cigarettes, gambling or overeating.
10.Recognize the traits of an addict. Possibly the best thing you can do to avoid addiction is to recognize when problem behavior is leading to addictive behavior. Here are some of the common behaviors of addicted people:
b. Lack of patience
c. Antisocial behavior
d. Low self-esteem
e. Problems dealing with stress
f. Compulsive and impulsive behavior
Everyone can benefit from taking the measures on this list to avoid addictive behaviors, but it’s especially important for anyone who is prone to addictive behavior. If you’re more susceptible to addiction, addictive behaviors can quickly ruin your life.
Try replacing dangerous addictive behaviors with healthy habits, and you should reap many rewards. Not only will you avoid addiction but you will nourish your body and improve your overall health.[G3]
If you think you may be addicted or need help avoiding addiction, then reach out for help. Addiction is a disease that affects your brain chemistry, and every day you abuse an addictive substance can be more damaging.[G4]
About the Author: Tim Stoddart is the co-founder and current president of Sober Nation. Tim is a big believer in the power of thought, positive living, health, and kindness. A recovering addict and admitted adrenaline junky, Tim has found new and healthier ways to fill the void. He gives credit for his “spiritual awakening” to his loving family and reading thought provoking books.